Together in Sound: Music therapy groups for people with dementia and their companions – moving online in response to a pandemic — Molyneux et al.

Special feature | Reports on online music therapy

Volume 14 (1) 2022 – Report (first published on 19 December 2020)

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Together in Sound: Music therapy groups for people with dementia and their companions – moving online in response to a pandemic

Claire Molyneux

Anglia Ruskin University, UK

Thomas Hardy

Saffron Hall Trust, UK

Yu-Tzu (Chloe) Lin

Anglia Ruskin University, UK

Katie McKinnon

Saffron Hall Trust, UK

Helen Odell-Miller

Anglia Ruskin University, UK


Together in Sound is a partnership project between the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and Saffron Hall Trust, an arts charity based in rural Essex, England. Established in Autumn 2017, the project offers music therapy to people living with dementia and their companions and includes a practice-based research element. This co-authored report concerns the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the project and presents the team’s experience of moving music therapy sessions online in March 2020. Continuing online provided continuity, support, and ongoing connection for participants who, because of the national lockdown in the United Kingdom, were isolated in their own homes. After providing some context about the project, the report explores the challenges and benefits of online delivery of sessions with reflections from the Together in Sound team including potential implications for the future.


online music therapy, people living with dementia, caregiving couples, COVID-10 pandemic


Claire Molyneux has worked as a music therapist and supervisor in the United Kingdom and New Zealand for over 20 years with people across the lifespan. She is currently a senior lecturer on the MA Music Therapy at Anglia Ruskin University, UK and is undertaking PhD research exploring the impact of group music therapy for people living with dementia and their companions. She is the lead music therapist for Together in Sound [] Thomas Hardy is an arts education professional with over 20 years’ experience in the sector including at the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Sadler’s Wells. He is currently Learning and Participation Director at Saffron Hall Trust with responsibility for the venue’s work across schools and communities [] Yu-Tzu (Chloe) Lin is a newly qualified music therapist, who graduated with an MA in Music Therapy from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020. Born and raised in Taiwan, she studied Life Science as her undergraduate major. During her music therapy training, Chloe specialised in applying improvisation skills in placement. She joined the Together in Sound project from 2019, working with Claire Molyneux as a music therapy trainee and a co-therapist [] Katie McKinnon is a recent music graduate with experience project managing community music and theatre projects across venues and festivals including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is currently the Learning and Participation Coordinator for Saffron Hall Trust, facilitating relationships with local community and beyond with the world-renowned artists who visit Saffron Hall. Katie manages and administrates education and community projects including Together in Sound. [] Helen Odell-Miller OBE is a Professor of Music Therapy, and Director of Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, Anglia Ruskin University. Her research and clinical work contributed to establishing music therapy as a profession; specifically to innovating approaches for older people living with dementia, and for adults with mental health issues. She is currently Principal Investigator for Homeside, a large five-country randomised controlled trial investigating music and reading for people living at home with their family carer. []